Trump admin outlines plan to reunify separated children with deported parents
The Trump administration has submitted a plan to a federal judge in San Diego that outlines how the US government intends to reunite migrant children who were separated from their families with parents who have been deported.
US officials will first work to determine parentage and resolve any safety concerns for the child and then seek to reunite families. There are currently 365 separated children with parents outside the US in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services, according to the submitted plan.
The plan is part of the US government effort to reunite separated families that is still ongoing more than a month after President Donald Trump reversed course in the face of intense backlash and signed an executive order to halt the separation of undocumented families, which had resulted from his administration’s own “zero tolerance” immigration policy at the US border.
Shortly after the President signed the order, US District Court Judge Dana Sabraw ordered the government to reunite all families that had been separated.
The government’s plan for reunification of children with deported parents states that the Office of Refugee Resettlement has contact information for parents of 360 out of the 365 children, and has been in contact with 299 parents in the past week. There are five children, however, for whom the government has not identified contact information.
The government said in an earlier court filing on Thursday that there were 386 children in total in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement with parents outside the US.
CNN has asked for an explanation why the number changed, but is not able to explain the discrepancy.
According to the newly-submitted plan, the government will adhere to a process for reunifying children with five main steps.
After resolving safety and parentage concerns and establishing contact with parents who were removed from the US, the next step will be to “determine parental intention” with respect to the child. During this phase, the plan states that the ACLU will develop a form for parents who opt to waive reunification with their kids. Children whose parents waive reunification will become part of the US government’s Office of Refugee Resettlement sponsorship process.
The final steps in the outlined process are to “resolve immigration status of minors to allow for reunification” and to facilitate “transportation of minors for physical reunification with parent in country of origin.”
American embassies in the child’s country of origin will work with officials in that country to coordinate the process of reunifying parents and children.